Mutant Ape Planet creator arrested in NY for alleged $2.9M NFT 'fraud'

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The developer of a Mutant Ape Yacht Club knock-off postulation has allegedly “defrauded” investors of $2.9 cardinal and admitted to a rug pull.

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Mutant Ape Planet creator arrested successful  NY for alleged $2.9M NFT 'fraud'

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The developer of a Mutant Ape Yacht Club knock-off postulation — Mutant Ape Planet — has been arrested successful New York, charged with allegedly “defrauding” investors of $2.9 cardinal successful a "rug propulsion scheme."

The apprehension took spot connected Jan. 4 astatine the John F. International Airport successful New York, with homeland information cause Ivan J. Arvelo alleging that French nationalist “Aurelien Michel perpetrated a rug propulsion scheme” and stole “nearly $3 cardinal from investors for his ain idiosyncratic use," stating:

“Purchasers of Mutant Ape Planet NFTs thought they were investing successful a trendy caller collectible, but they were deceived and received nary of the promised benefits”

Internal Revenue Service cause Thomas Fattorusso was besides cited successful a property merchandise from the Department of Justice, alleging that “Michel defrauded investors by making mendacious representations of, amongst different things, giveaways, tokens with staking features, and merchandise collections,” earlier withdrawing the funds erstwhile the NFTs were sold out.

According to the statement, Michel is understood to person admitted to the assemblage via a societal media chat that helium had perpetrated a rug pull, saying “we ne'er intended to rug but the assemblage went mode excessively toxic.”

The postulation — a knock-off of the fashionable Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT postulation — consists of 6,797 NFTs stored connected the Ethereum blockchain with 567 Ether (ETH) worthy of sales but has seen its mean terms and income measurement crater since it launched successful Jan. 2022.

Sales of the Mutant Ape Planet NFT collection. Source: Opensea

Following the arrest, holders of the postulation person been sharing their broadside of the communicative via Twitter, noting that James had attempted to blasted his departure connected the assemblage who were becoming skeptical owed to the deficiency of activity.

When I’m world what was happening was the founders were really not holding to their promised inferior starring successful to radical losing spot and past 1 time the founders wholly disappeared with nary notes, nothing. Things went sideways present arsenic tons of radical near the community-

— PerfectElectro (@electro_perfect) January 5, 2023

The task has since been taken implicit by the assemblage who is attempting to respire immoderate beingness backmost into it, spearheaded by a idiosyncratic with the pseudonym HTMadge.

A screenshot of discussions betwixt assemblage members. Source: Discord.

According to a Dec. 21 DappRadar report, Rug pulls — a benignant of exit scam wherever the creators of a task abruptly retreat liquidity from the level —were the most communal benignant of attack passim 2022, accounting for 119 incidents and $200 cardinal successful stolen funds.

Related: Magic Eden to refund users aft fake NFTs sold owed to exploit

Popular influencer and erstwhile big movie prima Lana Rhoades was accused of being down 1 of the bigger rug pulls of 2022, aft reportedly walking distant with $1.5 million from income of an NFT task which has seen little than 1 ETH worthy of income since its Feb. 2022 launch.

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